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Water Quality and Quantity Issues, News and Updates

Water, water everywhere --- and not a drop to drink...”

(from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge)

Water – Quality & Quantity – A Very Hot Topic

Updated January 2011

Demand for water is projected to outstrip supply by a staggering 40 percent by 2030, and an estimated half the world’s population are likely to live in areas of high water stress by the same year”  -- so states  Paul Dickinson, Executive Chairman of the Carbon Disclosure Project in the CDP Water Disclosure 2010  Global Report.   The situation is getting worse rather than getting better. The pressures of over-population, climate change and increased use per capita are all causing water stresses, although unevenly, throughout the globe. 

Current impacted areas in the news include the Southwestern and Southeastern regions of the United States; China; India; Ireland; the Middle East region; Australia; and many countries in Africa.  The threat has been recognized and throughout the globe and governments, corporations and activists groups are bringing the problem to the forefront and helping to craft and influence both short and long term solutions.

Since this section was first created in 1998, the editors have screened tens of thousands of articles and posted almost 1,000 stories, commentaries and reports. Water – quality and quantity is continuing to be a Hot Topic for AC readers.  As many pundits are saying…water is becoming the new carbon.

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In 2006 the United Nations World Water Development Report described the state of water on our planet as a “crisis of governance.”  While the world appears to have enough fresh water supply today, the issue is one of governance, as in water distribution, management and quality control practices.  Water quality appears to be degrading in many areas, our monitoring tells us, and water quantity (supply) is a huge issue in many of the world’s regions.

Due to a number of factors -- mismanagement, limited area resources, and environmental changes, some caused by climate change -- almost one-fifth of the planet’s population still lacks access to safe drinking water and 40 per cent of the world’s population lacks access to basic sanitation. Access to water is further restricted by national and governmental entities that regulate where the water flows, who has access and for what purpose the water is used.  

Water is also used as an economic, health and environmental weapon by the “haves” over the “have-nots.” Governments “determine who gets what water, when and how, and decide who has the right to water and related services,” said the report authors.  Water availability is also related to a range of issues intimately connected to water, from health and food security to economic development, land use, and the preservation of the natural ecosystems on which the water resources depend.

Water quality is declining in most regions of the Earth.  Regional over- population, increased industrialization, absence of proper waste water treatment -- are all contributing to the emerging crisis. Poor water quality is a key cause of poor livelihood and health. An estimated 1.6 million lives (directly or indirectly connected to water quality issues and their related diseases) could be saved each year by providing more access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene to the world’s poorest regions.

Access to water is not only a Third World or emerging nations’ issue -- droughts in the U.S. Southeast and quantity issues in the Southwest and in California have brought conservation, control and distribution issues to the public’s attention in the past few years.  Water in the United States is a key factor to residential and commercial development, economic stability and job growth – all issues which effect local and regional communities’ economic well-being. Water in the USA is critical to the health of agriculture and related industries.  Corporations are in the spotlight for their use of water – advocates and third party researchers are developing “water footprints” (similar to “carbon footprints”) for leading companies, such as Coca Cola, Nestle and other water-intensive industries and sectors.

The Editors of Accountability Central work to bring the many facets of Water issues -- especially quality and quantity -- into focus with news, commentary and research.  Education on the issues, public discussion and rising concern can help to bring about real and positive changes and sensible and fair solutions to the problems at hand.  Perhaps this public forum can help in some small way.  The Institute maintains a robust focus on water issues and the key players in its subscription Web-accessed knowledge management platform Sustainability HQ – click here for more information:www.sustainabilityhq.com.






Latest on Water - Quality & Quantity

February 19, 2014 Climate change fuels water scarcity and hunger

Deutsche Welle - Investment in agriculture 37 nations already make do with the bare minimum in water resources, according to experts at the îWorld Resources Instituteî (WRI), a co-author of the Aqueduct Water Risk...

February 19, 2014 Oklahoma Wonders Why The Earth Is Shaking

Source: Time

No strangers to nature’s fury, Oklahomans grow up accustomed scorching heat, blizzards, wrecking-ball thunderstorms and tornadoes. What they don’t see a lot of are earthquakes, which have been rattling the Sooner State with rare...

February 19, 2014 Another scary NASA picture of the California drought

Source: UT San Diego

Remember that NASA picture showing how much less snowpack there was in the Sierra Nevada mountains this year compared to a year ago?

February 18, 2014 The Drought is On. Turn the Water Off.

sonomacountygazette.com - The Sonoma-Marin îSaving Water Partnershipî (Partnership) will be implementing a regional multi-media effort throughout the North Bay region with a simple message: The drought is on. Turn the...

February 18, 2014 Brazil Cities Rationing Water as Drought Saps Reservoir Supplies

Source: Bloomberg

The southern cities of Guarulhos, Sao Caetano do Sul and Diadema say Brazil’s biggest water utility cut supplies as much as a third in response to the worst drought in decades. Guarulhos, site of Sao Paulo’s international...

February 17, 2014 Science Linking Drought to Global Warming Remains Matter of Dispute

Source: NY Times

In delivering aid to drought-stricken California last week, President Obama and his aides cited the state as an example of what could be in store for much of the rest of the country as human-caused climate change intensifies. But...

February 14, 2014 The Global Desalination Market 2012-2022

companiesandmarkets.com - An electronic version (mostly PDF, but can be Excel or PPT), which is either available for immediate download or will be sent via email by the Publisher of the report. The licencing for an electronic...

February 14, 2014 Mercury News editorial: No easy answers for solving state's water shortage problem

Source: Mercury News

Unless the president has found a way to issue an executive order to make it rain, the residents of Fresno are largely in for disappointment Friday when President Obama comes to town to discuss the drought. There are no easy...

February 13, 2014 Senate drought bill grants $300M in aid to California, Oregon

Inland Valley Daily Bulletin - Obama, like California leaders and House Democrats, had blasted the House GOP bill as a water grab for agriculture at the environmentâs expense and a political power play that would undermine...

February 13, 2014 Brazil may face water shortages during World Cup, group says

Source: Reuters

Brazil's largest city, Sao Paulo, is on the verge of water rationing because of a severe drought and shortages are seen possible when the country hosts the World Cup soccer tournament in June and July, according to a non-profit...

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